NEW YORK – United Nations employee Florian Cabuyao was among the 1.3 million overseas Filipino voters whose personal information was compromised after activist group Anonymous defaced and hacked into the Philippine Commission on Election’s (COMELEC) website last March.
The hacking incident left 55 million Filipino voters at risk after their data was shared on www.wehaveyourdata.com, according to an investigation conducted by Trend Micro–a global leader in IT security.
“My full name, my birthday, fingerprints–like a digital fingerprint,” said Cabuyao. “My address here in the US and in the Philippines, the time that I registered in the Consulate and who registered me.”
Cabuyao said a friend tipped her after finding her own stolen information easily available on the We Have Your Data website.
“I felt my privacy was violated because those information for me is very personal,” she said. “Fraud and Identity theft is very rampant these days. Somebody might steal my identity because it’s just out there.”
The website has been shut down after the arrest of a suspect in the Philippines, and COMELEC official Andres Bautista claimed that the hackers were not successful in stealing confidential information and that this hacking incident will not affect the May 9 elections.
She said, “It’s very alarming, first and foremost, because if someone can easily get that information there will be a lot of aftermath,” said Cabuyao in disagreement. “Secondly if you’re gonna relate that in the timeliness of how it had happened, elections coming out, there will be doubts about what will happen in the coming elections.”
In past cases of hacking, personal information has been used to access or open bank accounts, use the info for phishing emails, blackmails, or extortion schemes among others.
“I looked up ways to prevent identity theft, mainly changing your passwords or you can go getting an insurance against fraudulent activities,” she said. “I also consulted some lawyer friends about it, what good actions about it.”
The COMELEC hack is said to be the largest government data breach in history–even bigger than the Office of Personnel Management hack that included 20 million Social Security numbers of US citizens in 2015.
Cabuyao said all she is asking for is an assurance from the Philippine government that voter information and the actual votes are secured come election day on May 9.